Arab foreign ministers meeting witnessed absence of Qatari FM
Nabil al-Arabi - YOUM7/Sami Waheeb

CAIRO: Arab ministers of foreign affairs met on Sunday at the Arab League headquarters to discuss the draft agenda of the Arab Summit scheduled in Kuwait on 25-26 March.

The 141st regular session of the Arab foreign ministers comes a few days after the recent diplomatic rifts between several Arab states and Qatar.

The ministers are scheduled to discuss a number of regional issues, including the Syrian crisis and Palestinian statehood, yet the talks have been prefaced by diplomatic conflicts this week in the Arab Gulf – as Egypt announced its ambassador would not return to Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the U.A.E. withdrew their ambassadors from Doha on March 5 in protest against Qatar policies.

Qatar’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attivah has not attended the Arab League meeting, with Qatari Ambassador to Cairo in his stead.

During the meeting, Egyptian Foreign Ministry Nabil al-Arabi criticized the continuous settlements built by the Israeli government and said that the Palestinian case will remain the main the focus of attention of all the Arab people.

“Arab states should take a decisive stance in response to the Israeli’s fait accompli policy,” said Arabi.

On the sideline of the meeting, Fahmy met with his Kuwaiti, Lebanese, Oman and Sudanese counterparts and discussed the development of the Palestinian and the Syrian issues, said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Badr Abdel Atty.

He added that before the meeting, Fahmy met with his Saudi counterpart and discussed the bilateral relations and ways to boost economic and social cooperation between the two countries.

Fahmy also met with his Yemeni and Omani counterparts along with Arabi and discussed the Kuwaiti initiative – launched a few days before the meeting – to hold a reconciliation session with the Qatari foreign minister. However, due to his absence the initiative has failed, said Atty.

The council issued a statement emphasizing its support to the efforts of the Palestinian leadership to end the Israeli occupation and to retrieve the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.

The statement confirmed that peace would not exist without Eastern Jerusalem to be the capital of the Palestinian country, the confirmation that it is an inalienable part of Palestine and the establishment of an independent Palestinian country according to the international legitimacy resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative. The statement also stressed that Israel should withdraw from all occupied Arab territories according to the June 4, 1967 line and according to the Security Council resolution 242.

The statement included that peace negotiations should be based on the fundamental terms of reference represented in relevant international legitimacy resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative and ending the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian and Arab territories. It stressed the final solution to resolve the reasons of the conflict, which are the settlements, Jerusalem, refugees, borders, waters, prisoners and security. The statement also stressed the refusal of the Israeli policies which aim at the Judaization of Jerusalem and the obliteration of its religious and humanitarian civilization, and it stressed that all these actions are void according to the international law.

The statement rejected all attempts to make the settlements and the apartheid wall a fait accompli. It also rejected all Israeli attempts that aim to divide the unity of the Palestinian territories and the unilateral procedures by the Israeli side.

The statement called for a just solution for the refugees issue according to U.N. resolution number 194 for 1948 and according to the Arab Peace Initiative. It also called for the release of all Arab and Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons, in addition to lift the illegal siege on Gaza Strip.

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